Iraqi Christians Search for Safe Haven

By Steve Little – It’s a story that is occurring every day in Iraq: families attacked because of their faith and forced to leave their homes and loved ones.
“I cried when I saw my father beaten. My mom was crying too. The wanted to take our house. They hit my dad,” Farah, an Iraqi child refugee, said.

The United Nations estimates roughly 4 million people have been displaced by sectarian fighting in Iraq. About half have left Iraq to seek refuge in neighboring countries.

“We have a situation now where suddenly Syria, Jordan, Turkey, and Lebanon find themselves playing host to a very huge influx of Iraqis. Many of these Iraqis are in serious need of shelter, health care, and education for their children,” Assistant Secretary of State Ellen Sauerbrey said.

Denied official refugee status by hosting nations, Iraqis can’t work, or receive government assistance.

The hardest hit are the children.

Many suffer from post-traumatic stress, have nightmares, and fear they’ll be taken from their families.

Refugee children also suffer from stunted growth and anemia because of their poor diets.

But these refugees are not completely abandoned. Religious groups, including Middle East Christians, are helping them find food and shelter.

“The involvement of churches in the communities where refugees resettle is so important to their ability to integrate,” Sauerbrey said. “I’ve seen many wonderful situations where churches adopt refugee families.”

About 40 percent of all Iraqi refugees are Christians. While local churches are helping their brothers and sisters in Christ, they’re also showing God’s love to Muslim refugees.

Farah said, “We came here to Jordon. After a few days we arrived and the church came to help. With mercy from God we stayed in the church.” They are heavenly mercies, helping these families endure a hell on earth.

What is the future of these Iraqi Christians? Watch the interview above with Craig Jaggers from World Vision, who explains what his organization is doing to help the refugees.